Directed by James Whale
Universal’s finest horror director James Whale (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House) brilliantly shifted genres with the dazzling Pre-Code romantic comedy By Candlelight. Josef (Paul Lukas, The Kiss Before the Mirror) is the ultra-dutiful butler to a Casanova-like prince (Nils Asther, The Bitter Tea of General Yen). Falling in love with Marie (Elissa Landi, The Sign of the Cross), whom he assumes to be a countess, Josef masquerades—quite convincingly—as his rakish master. The catch: Marie is herself a poseur, a mere maidservant of nobility. Based on P.G. Wodehouse’s (Anything Goes) adaptation of a Siegfried Geyer play, By Candlelight is a delightfully sophisticated farce of class privilege and mistaken identity that ranks as one of Whale’s most extraordinary achievements.